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Mental Health Benefits of a Holiday

Dad and 2 daughters blow bubbles in the grass on a summer's day

Mental Health Benefits of a Holiday

“What we’ve long known anecdotally, we will now prove through authoritative research: travel has a positive effect on health, relationships, business performance and the well-being of communities.”
 - Roger Dow, President and CEO of the US Travel Association. 

It’s no secret that getting away from it all, even for a couple of days, can do wonders for your mental health. Life these days is hectic, and we all need a break from the stresses and challenges of everyday life.

When you’re on holiday you can leave your worries behind and focus on spending quality time with loved ones. Whether you’re dipping your toes into a pool, soaking up the sun on a beach, doing something active or experiencing a spot of culture, you’ll get a wonderful mental boost.

In fact, scientists have found that the psychological benefits of a holiday can last for up to a month after returning home. And why shouldn’t everyone get the chance to benefit from a holiday? Holidays shouldn’t just be for the privileged and wealthy, everyone should be able to enjoy the mental health benefits that holidays bring.

Here are just a few of the many mental health benefits of holidays

They help reduce stress

Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, and tour operator Kuoni, conducted a study and discovered there are striking effects of not going on holiday. They discovered those who didn’t go away for a break had higher blood pressure, didn’t sleep as well and had higher levels of stress.

It’s not surprising that holidays help us de-stress, because we do things that give us pleasure and distract our mind. Travel provides a much needed break from hectic lifestyles, which in turn, helps us feel less stressed.

Child walking through the woods on holiday

Holidays can make us mentally sharper and more creative

If your mind is emotionally exhausted, you probably won’t be functioning at your best. Just like when you do work you need to take breaks regularly in order to remain productive, you also need prolonged breaks where you can properly rest.

Going on holiday can give you a fresh wave of motivation and the strength to keep your life moving forward when you return. A study (by US researcher Elizabeth Scott PhD) found that three days after a holiday, travellers felt well-rested, less anxious, and in a better mood.

Travel helps you stay active, which helps your mental health

It’s fairly well known that doing exercise can give you a mental health boost. A long walk in a calm environment can do wonders for your mood. When we travel, there’s often an opportunity to be active, and in order to explore new places, we have to travel on foot. Regular holidays where you have the chance to do something energetic, such as an activity or walking holiday will definitely help improve your mental health and generally wellbeing.

Travel broadens your mind, literally

This article in The Atlantic describes studies that show the connection between travel and an increase in creativity, a deeper sense of cultural awareness and personal growth. When you travel to new places, your brain goes into overdrive. There are new sounds, sights and smells to adapt to. Your brain takes in your new surroundings, and you have encounters that help make you more culturally aware.

Travel gives you something to look forward to

Research has shown that simply having something to look forward to can help boost your mood. So, as soon as you click ‘book’ on that holiday website, your mind starts doing mental somersaults. Everyone loves having a holiday to look forward to.

Two girls laugh as they play at a playground on holiday

Travel can help depression

Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine, University of California and Harvard found that just six days away triggers genetic changes which dampens stress, boosts the immune system and lowers levels of proteins linked to dementia and depression. If you’re feeling low or going through a particularly bad period in your life, travel can provide a temporary respite and help nurse you back to mental health.

Blog post contributed by: Kiri Nowak a.k.a The Content Wolf, Pack Leader of The Content Wolves

If you’d like to know more about how travel can improve your health and happiness, check out this great blog by Bookmundi.

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